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Thousands like to be beside the seaside at event held by students

EVENTS students brought the Bognor Regis prom into the town’s park.


The five-strong team turned Hotham Park into a slice of the seaside for a popular community event.


Some 5,000 visitors were estimated to have attended the free Seaside Rox day.


Deckchairs, Punch & Judy shows, ice creams, (plastic) ducks and bandstand musicians added up to a glorious time in the sun.


Production manager Lauren Andrews said: “We want to promote the seaside and to bring back the prevailing popular view of seaside towns because we feel they have been run down a bit in the past. This is a community fun day to bring people together and to bring the seaside into the heart of the town.”


Rustington resident Lauren and her fellow organisers – Zina Livoti, Laura King, Maria Lippin and Thomas Killner-Brown – are final year students on the events degree course at the University of Chichester.


For five years or so, undergraduates have joined with the Rox Music and Arts charity to stage an event for everyone to enjoy. The work replaces a final dissertation for the students and raises money for other Rox projects.


“We have been planning this since last September,” said Lauren. “It has been a lot of hard work but has possibly been the most rewarding thing I have done.


“You see the community coming together on a day like today and it is really beneficial.”


Last Saturday’s Seaside Rox saw nine acts take to the bandstand. They included Beaten Tracks, REMbrandt REM tribute, Razzmatazz Stage School, Beatroot and Luna Blue.


There were also about 25 stalls for visitors to enjoy wandering around. Among them was Surfers Against Sewage. Regional rep Rob Hills said the occasion was a good chance to continue turning the tide against single use plastic.


“It’s good to be able to talk to people about how they can reduce their use of single use plastic,” he said. “There is a lot of momentum building in that direction and we want to carry it on.


“SAS carried out 571 beach cleans recently. They collected 70 tons of litter and a third of that was single use plastic. That can’t carry on.”


He and the Gosport regional rep, Cliff Culver, had examples of plastic found on beaches in the Witterings, Bracklesham Bay and Gosport. They include an intact 1972 bottle made in Poland.


Town mayor Cllr Phil Woodall opened the day and wished the students success.


He said: “The students’ vision for this event is to change any negative perceptions of seaside towns.


“I would like to personally thank all the students for their hard work towards today, which I know is not easy, being involved in events like this myself.”


The thousands of visitors included Debbie Hewick, of South Bersted. She said: “This is a really good event. I think the organisers have put on some really nice stuff. We come to these events – Rox and the country park – in the park.


“We can have a sit down, there’s things to interest the children and it’s safe for them.”


She was with town centre resident Joanne Lewis, who went along with her two daughters and her step-sister. She said: “This is a good place to have events like this.


“It’s better for the children than being stuck at home. I always look out for these events on Facebook and say I like them or that I’m coming along to them.”


The six hours of fun were being assessed by the university’s programme co-ordinator for events management, Wendy Sealy.


She said: “Today is a lot of hard work for the students. They should be highly commended for what they have put on, especially because one of their members pulled out.


“What I am looking for is good organisation, such as processes like contracting, procuring and the logistics of getting everyone in the right place at the right time. That means 98 per cent of the work happens before the event takes place.”


She was joined on the day by two external markers to add their assessment to the students’ abilities.

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